Thoughts on Lars von Trier's new trailer

Lars von Trier's new film, Melancholia, is set to premiere at Cannes next month, and I feel compelled to post about the recently released trailer here, simply because I can't stop watching or thinking about it. Some thoughts:

- My interest is definitely piqued by the sketch of a plot we're given here, which seems to involve some sort of wedding weekend turned apocalyptic. Something about the opulence of the setting, the sheer excess of this (almost royal-seeming) wedding, suddenly troubled by catastrophe, seems somehow particularly von Trier-ian. The sense of ominousness here is beautifully evoked (and as my boyfriend helpfully pointed out, the music is Wagner's Tristan and Isolde--another sign that things don't look good for these folks).

- The appearance of Charlotte Gainsbourg and the smeary, finger-painted title card both recall von Trier's last film, Antichrist (2009), which I thought was a dud but perhaps requires re-assessment within the context of this next one. Von Trier often groups his films in threes; perhaps this is the second of his latest trilogy--perhaps one designed to pay tribute to the great Russian auteur Andrei Tarkovsky, whose films are both visually ravishing and defiantly anti-realist. Antichrist was explicitly dedicated to Tarkovsky, a move that many people found laughable. Here, the idea of a perfectly enclosed bourgeois world shattered by cosmic disaster immediately brings to mind Tarkovsky's last film, The Sacrifice (1986), and the mysterious shot of Kirsten Dunst with electricity or something radiating out from her fingertips seems like something out of Stalker (1979).

- Speaking of the beauty of Tarkovsky's images, damn, this looks like a gorgeous film. The DP on this film is apparently Manuel Alberto Claro, whose work I'm not familiar with, but the cinematography here appears to be really stunning. This has just shot to the top of my list of most highly anticipated films of 2011. I'll be curious to hear about how it's received next month...

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